Varieties of Red Wine
The red wines age better than the white wines because the tannin in them mellows down with time, assimilating itself into other characteristics of the red wine. However, that is just one of the reasons why red wines are the classiest and the best wines in the world. Red wines have been applauded the world over for their beneficial effect
on the human heart and other health aspects. Besides raising the level
of good cholesterol in our blood, red wines cut down on the bad
cholesterol and check formation of blood clots.
Here we bring you the eight most popular varieties of red wine, enjoyed in every part of the world:
1) Cabernet Sauvignon: This variety of red wine, considered to be the best in the world, is full-bodied in taste and more intense when young. Wine-growers often blend Cabernet Sauvignon with cabernet franc and merlot. This red wine works well in the traditional combination that is “red wine and red meat.” It is grown in Germany, France, Australia, California and Chile.
2) Syrah or Shiraz: Known as only Syrah in Europe but as Shiraz in the rest of the world, this variety of red wine carries the aromatic flavor of the wild black fruit. The overtones of black pepper spice and roasting meat make this wine warm in taste. Grown in California, Australia and the Rhone Valley in France, Shiraz tastes well with dishes made of steak, beef, wild game, etc. Along with producing some hearty reds, the shiraz variety of grapes also produce some of the finest, darkest and deepest red wines that last for a long time.
3) Merlot: This soft red wine is considered an easy drink and is often used to introduce non-drinkers to the wine. In fact, this easy-to-go wine works with almost any type of food. Merlot is grown in Australia, California, Italy, Washington State, Chile and Romania.
4) Pinot noir: This difficult to grow grape variety produces one of the noblest red wines, which are quite smooth in taste. Some of the great Pinot noir grapes are grown in Burgundy in France as well as in Austria, New Zealand, Oregon, California. Pinot noir smells very fruity while it’s a delicate wine in texture. You can serve Pinot noir with grilled salmon, lamb or chicken.
5) Malbec: Malbec red wine originated in the famous Bordeaux region of France, known for its world-famous varieties of red wine. Besides France, Malbec is also grown in Argentina, Chile, California and Australia. Malbec wine goes with all types of meat-based meals. The taste of this variety of red wine depends on the region where it is grown, as a result it is considered to be a varietal wine as far as its taste is concerned.
6) Sangiovese: Looking for a good choice of red wine to go without your Italian dinner, pick Sangiovese, a medium-bodied wine with flavors that will remind you of fresh berry and plum. Sangiovese is produced in the Tuscany region of Italy and quite recently in California.
7) Zinfandel: Made from the world’s most versatile grape, Zinfandel makes for a range of wines from blush (white Zinfandel) to rich, heavy reds. This variety is grown only in California and nowhere else in the world. Known for its zesty flavor, Zinfandel can be paired with dishes made with tomato sauce as the base, like pastas, pizzas or grilled meats.
8) Barbera: Originated in Italy, Barbera has similar characteristics as Merlot but it is not as popular. In terms of food pairings, Barbera is a versatile red wine and can be matched with a lot of dishes.
Apart from these world-class varieties of red wine, there are some lesser-known varieties as well, which you might like to try occasionally:
A. Nebbiolo: Mainly grown in Italy’s Piedmont region, grows better with age.
B. Tempranillo: Also known as “Spain’s big red,” this red wine carries the undertones of strawberries and plums.
C. Grenache: With its comparatively high alcohol content, this red wine tastes sweet and peppery.
D. Gamay: This red wine is low on tannin and it actually tastes of grapes.
Now that you know your Cabernet Sauvignon from the Merlot, it is time you pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy. (Photo courtesy: Google Images)